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The Green Helmet and Other Poems

W. B. Yeats

Book Overview: 

Dramatization Of A Most Interesting Gaelic Variant Of The Story Of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .And I took all the blame out of all sense and reason,


Until I cried and trembled and rocked to and fro,

Riddled with light. Ah! when the ghost begins to quicken,

Confusion of the death-bed over, is it sent

Out naked on the roads, as the books say, and stricken

By the injustice of the skies for punishment?




Ah, that Time could touch a form

That could show what Homer’s age

Bred to be a hero’s wage.

“Were not all her life but storm,

Would not painters paint a form

Of such noble lines” I said.

“Such a delicate high head,

So much sternness and such charm,

Till they had changed us to like strength?”

Ah, but peace that comes at length,

Came when Time had touched her form.




O heart, be at peace, because

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Community Reviews

I love Yeats, even his minor work lifts my heart. The title poem, a play with a plotline similar to the Green Knight, has the Red Man returning a year after having his head cut off, to collect his penalty, the head of man to be cut off. He had left behind the Green Helmet for the "best of you all to

A short but powerful collection. May have been the first of his collections that really has the depth he becomes known for. Whereas many of the earlier ones that I've read have gorgeous language and metaphor, it is here that I begin to see glimmers of genius subtext. Looking forward to the next one.

Not to my taste

“Why, what could she have done, being what she is?
Was there another Troy for her to burn?”

Maybe my favorite collection by far!

Yes, an odd choice to kick off 2021 (especially as I don't read much poetry and had never really heard of this and can't remember why exactly I picked it up). That said, I quite enjoyed a couple of the poems of thwarted love, found the play ("Green Helmet") delightful in an old folktale kind of way,

“Time out of mind, became too ruinous
To breed the lidless eye that loves the sun?”

“Were not all her life but storm,
Would not painters paint a form”

“Had they but courage equal to desire?”

“With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind
That is not natural in an age like this,”

“The fascination of what’s diffi

A collection of 21 poems from 1910. Highlights - "Brown penny" "upon a house shaken by the land agitation" "his dream"

Simple beauty in this collection is stunning. The depth and philosophy of his later works are absent in these poems, but I still adore them. The mundane aspect in the poems is somewhat warm and charming. I came to understand that Yeats is not an aloof poet but the poet for everybody.

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